John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Nigerians Impressed: the All Progressives Congress Convention

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A policeman stands guard near ballot boxes at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention, in Lagos, early December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A policeman stands guard near ballot boxes at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention, in Lagos, early December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jean Herskovits, research professor of African history at SUNY-Purchase. Dr. Herskovits has been watching Nigeria’s politics at first hand for decades. She visits frequently, returning last month from her most recent trip. Dr. Herskovits is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Awaiting January’s Forum for National Reconciliation in Bangui

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Central African Republic's interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (C) addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2014. Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters Central African Republic's interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (C) addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2014. Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters

This is a guest post by Thomas Zuber, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University.  Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update December 6-December 12

by John Campbell Monday, December 15, 2014
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from December 6 to December 12, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Nigerian Religious Leaders Advise Political Candidates

by John Campbell Friday, December 12, 2014
Presidential aspirant and former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari reacts before presenting his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos, December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Presidential aspirant and former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari reacts before presenting his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos, December 11, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working on their Religion & Geopolitics resource (religionandgeopolitics.org) in London, England, and a former research associate for the CFR Africa program. Read more »

Who Is Responsible For The Upsurge in Terrorism in Kano, Nigeria?

by John Campbell Thursday, December 11, 2014
People gather at the scene of a double suicide bomb attack at the Kantin Kwari textile market in Kano, December 10, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People gather at the scene of a double suicide bomb attack at the Kantin Kwari textile market in Kano, December 10, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Since mid-November there has been a flurry of terrorist attacks in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, the metropolis of the northern half of the country, and an ancient center of Islamic culture.

Suicide bombers have carried out attacks on a gas station and a military facility. Casualties in each episode appear to have been about half a dozen. On November 28, there was a major attack on the Central Mosque in Kano, immediately adjacent to the Emir of Kano’s palace. Casualties were much higher, perhaps approaching two hundred, according to the Transition Monitoring Group, a highly respected Nigerian democracy advocacy group that accuses the government of minimizing the number of victims. The mosque attack has been condemned by prominent personalities ranging from Pope Francis to the Sultan of Sokoto, the most senior Islamic traditional ruler in Nigeria, to President Goodluck Jonathan. On December 10, two female suicide bombers killed at least six people (including themselves) at a market. Read more »

Nelson Mandela and the Land Question in South Africa

by John Campbell Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

A year after the death of Nelson Mandela, his reputation for reconciliation is undiminished. However, a more rounded evaluation of his career is emerging, one that takes into account the difficult choices that he had to make. I was part of that process in an article I wrote for Foreign Policy and my Council on Foreign Relations Expert Brief. Bernadette Atuahene, the author of the compelling We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa’s Land Restitution Program, in a thoughtful Los Angeles Times Op-ed looks specifically at Mandela’s compromises over the land question at the time of South Africa’s transition to “non-racial” democracy. She concludes that Mandela left a legacy of both reconciliation and inequality. Read more »

Restrained South African Reaction to the Murder of Pierre Korkie

by John Campbell Tuesday, December 9, 2014
A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters) A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters)

Pierre Korkie was a South African teacher working in Yemen, where his wife, Yolande, did hospital relief work. They were kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives in May 2013. Yolande Korkie was released without ransom payment in January 2014. Pierre Korkie, however, was held for a $3 million ransom. On December 5, he was murdered by his kidnappers during the course of the failed U.S. effort to free American journalist Luke Somers, who was also killed. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 29-December 4

by John Campbell Monday, December 8, 2014
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from November 29 to December 4, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

The Somali Prime Minister Merry-Go-Round

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, December 5, 2014
Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed waves as he arrives for the celebration to mark the 54th Somali Independence Day at the former parliament buildings in capital Mogadishu July 1, 2014. (Ismail Taxta/Courtesy Reuters) Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed waves as he arrives for the celebration to mark the 54th Somali Independence Day at the former parliament buildings in capital Mogadishu July 1, 2014. (Ismail Taxta/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Recently, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud organized for the Somali parliament to lodge a petition for a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohammad. This comes on the heels of a spat between Ahmed and President Mohamud after the prime minister removed a minister of justice and constitutional affairs. That minister, now the minister of veterinary and animal husbandry, is a major ally of President Mohamud, who declared the move “null and void” citing constitutional authority. Read more »

An African Odyssey

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, December 5, 2014
A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe.
(MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters) A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe. (MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a graduate student at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she studies international security policyRead more »